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Nutcracker brought to life by Backstage dancers
Nutcracker pic
Members of Backstage Academy of Dance practice for their upcoming performance of The Nutcracker. - photo by ANDREA GOODWIN / The Journal

Backstage Academy of Dance will present “The Nutcracker,” a timeless Christmas ballet, for its 26th year on Dec. 17 and 18. After all of those performances, Backstage still finds a way to make the performance feel new and exciting.

Kristi Garcia has been directing the annual “Nutcracker” performance since 1997. She said every year Backstage Academy of Dance adds new costumes, changes up the choreography and adds new dancers to the mix. This year they will have around 60 performers, ages four to 50, performing in the show. Many of Backstage’s companies will be performing in the production.

“I’m always trying to change things so that people who make a yearly tradition out of it will enjoy it every time,” Garcia said.

This year’s lead female role, Clara, will be played by Megan Wade. The 15 year-old has been attending Backstage Academy of Dance since she was two. This is her first lead role in the “Nutcracker” and she is excited for the opportunity. She will dance opposite Gregory Perez, a veteran dancer who has performed in the “Nutcracker” countless times for various companies over the last 30 years.

“What I like about this production is that it’s more family involved,” Perez said.

The show is open to all ages and even includes a free sugar plum party after matinee shows, where dancers pass out candy, cookies and drinks to the audience. Tickets are $15 for children ages 12 and under, $20 for adults and are on sale at Backstage Academy of Dance and Encore Dance Apparel in Turlock and The Dance Bag in Modesto. Performances are at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 17 and 2 p.m. on Dec. 18, all at the Turlock Community Theatre.

To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.